Question of the Day: Do You Store a Gun in Your Car?

“A car is not a safe location [to store your firearm].” That’s the Atlanta PD’s pronouncement after a visit from Michael Bloomberg’s anti-gun agitpropmeisters, at The Trace, whose zeal for public safety [/sarc] brought the high number of firearm thefts from local vehicles to the APD’s attention (and patted themselves on the back for doing so). True? Well . . .

A vehicle’s safety as a firearms storage device depends on whether or not your vehicle is locked, where and when you park it, and how you store a firearm in your car. Trunk? Glove box? Car safe?

Do you store a gun in your car? If so, when, where and how?

[I’m sure some of you will point out that the existence of “gun-free” zones are at least partially responsible for the large number of firearms thefts from cars — a point The Trace somehow missed. Feel free.]


  1. avatar Jomo says:

    Most of us wouldn’t store arms in our cars if we didn’t risk being stigmatized or fired from our jobs for carrying in our workspaces or at many businesses.

    1. avatar The Gray Poseur says:

      Or placed into another federal database for admitting it online.

      Why anyone would give up this info online is beyond me.

    2. avatar JRH says:

      And done in one. I never leave my gun in my car as long as I have the legal option of carrying it on me.

  2. avatar William says:

    Say doesn’t the Atlanta PD sometimes store guns in their cars?

    1. avatar Mark says:

      “Lindstrom said the crooks stole a Rock River M4 carbine police rifle, a police vest and other miscellaneous police gear. He says the rifle and other items were properly locked and stowed away.”

    2. avatar Ranger Rick says:

      Do as I say, not as I do…

  3. avatar JDS says:

    Ever since I drove into the middle of a full blown burn down the neighborhood riot in the 1996 I have. I have my carry weapon of course but I also keep a full size S&W with 4 17 round mags in a small safe. That safe is under the driver’s seat with a cable locked through the seat frame.

    1. avatar Garrison Hall says:

      ” . . . full size S&W with 4 17 round mags . . .”

      Day-amm! 🙂

  4. avatar Mike says:

    I wouldn’t trust my center console or glove box, but sometimes keep one in a VAULTEK safe under my seat that is cable-locked to my truck. I marked the safe as “GPS TRACKED” as a deterrent. Foolproof? No. But would require theif to get past a few levels of protection- and since most thefts are of the smash-and-grab type, hopefully enough of an inconvenience to not be worth the effort (or getting caught).

    1. avatar binder says:

      I hope you don’t get out of your car and put the gun in the trunk after you arrive at your location. That’s how cars end up targeted.

      1. avatar Pablo says:

        Actually that’s the advice my cc trainer (as loss prevention manager for a dealership that for insurance reasons cannot allow non post certified carry) gave to dealership staff as an attempt to keep cc pistols from becoming glovebox guns. I do know he pushes for bedside safes though.

      2. avatar Supermike says:

        Nah… I drive a truck – no trunk. I can reach behind me and slide the safe out, make my deposit, and slide it back under the seat without getting out.

  5. avatar Swilson says:

    No, not regularly. Just long enough for any neighbors who are outside to go back inside. I don’t want anyone knowing what I have, regardless of how amiable they are or how much they appear to be pro-2A on the surface.

    When I am in my truck, I have my carry gun with me.

    1. All my neighbors know what each other has. We can hear everyone shooting.

  6. avatar Son of Alan says:

    Most of the time my response would be Nunya: None of your business. I do carry a cheap pump gun in the trunk, nothing I would shed tears over if it walked away.

  7. avatar Lost Down South says:

    Yes, but unfortunately my car was lost in a boating accident.

    1. avatar Rick the Bear (now in NH!!) says:

      Hopefully the windows were partially open for better sinking. 8>)

    2. avatar sound awake says:


  8. avatar Jay in Florida says:

    Not needed . I do however store a gun on my person 20/7. Therefore I don’t feel the need to possibly have it stolen from my car.

    1. avatar Cuteandfuzzybunnies says:

      Why not the other 4 hours a day ?:)

      1. avatar Simon says:


      2. avatar -Peter says:

        That’s when he be makin love.

      3. avatar BLoving says:

        I was going to guess “pooping”, but that’s when my EDC sits on the countertop.

  9. avatar kevin says:

    “A car is not a safe location [to store your firearm].”
    Tell that to every police officer, everywhere, who stores a carbine or shotgun in plain view, usually with one or two others in the trunk.

    1. avatar Ian says:

      That’s a really shitty comparison. About 2000 personal cars are stolen every single day. How many cop cars do you think get stolen a day? Not a valid comparison at all if you bother to think about it for half a second.

      1. avatar kevin says:

        Who’s talking about stealing cars? Not me, and not the Chief. The chief says you shouldn’t store a gun in a car because it could be stolen. Unless you’re a cop, then the rules are different. And while a civilian car may or may not have a gun in it, you can count on several guns in every cop car.

        Do you imply that cops guns never get stolen? How about 944 lost or stolen in the Bay Area alone over the past six years?

      2. avatar Andrew Lias says:

        Actually there is a local PD here that’s had 2 PD cars broken into in 2 years because they wanted the guns; They didn’t steal the cars though. I don’t think it’s altogether rare either.

        1. avatar Anon in CT says:

          Yeah, there’s pretty much only one kind of car that’s almost guaranteed to have a gun in the trunk – and that’s a cop car. And cops have to sleep, just like anyone else.

          Now if you get a SWAT officer, it’s jackpot – a friend of mine who is both SWAT and a competitive pistol shooter has a unmarked cop car trunk that looks like a cross between MAC’s YouTube channel and an episode of “Hoarders”.

      3. avatar LarryinTX says:

        Let’s see, there’s probably about 1000 times as many non-police cars, right? Were we going to just ignore that? My bet is a quick $100 that the average police officer has lost more guns from his car since 1969 than I have. That date is because I actually had one stolen from my car (along with everything else I owned) in 1969, never since. And yes, my EDC is difficult to access while wearing my shoulder harness, so I have a Kimber .45 and spare mag accessible to see me thru until I get clear of entanglements.

  10. avatar tjlarson2k says:

    Watch your news sources and be prepared based on that info.

    One of several reasons I would pack my AR into my jeep is if there is civil unrest or higher chance of threat in proximity of the places I plan to frequent (assuming I can’t reasonably avoid affected areas ahead of time). IE protests, mass shooting, etc.

    Mobile threats are a bit different, IE an escaped convict in area, etc. There was an instance a few years ago of that exact scenario in close proximity to my work (within a few miles). At that time, that news and situation developed throughout the day and all I had was my edc, but it was one felon, so I felt no need to prepare further. Eventually the perp was caught hiding in a storm pipe.

    Prepare to the level of your comfort and just be aware of developing situations. I generally don’t recommend or agree with long term storage of weapons in vehicles that are out in public, are far from your view or access, and isolated.

  11. avatar Tom in Oregon says:

    No. I don’t store a gun in my truck. There are two of them.

  12. avatar Aven says:

    What do you do with your firearm when you are prohibited to take into a courthouse, school or other place? Where I live, the police all carry loaded shotguns in the trunk of their cruisers or undercover car.

    1. avatar Lost Down South says:

      “What do you do with your firearm when you are prohibited to take into a courthouse, school or other place? ”

      Where I live, the one county building that’s restricted, the courthouse and sheriff’s office**, has little secure boxes outside. The security personnel open up a box, you disarm, they give you a little box ID tag, you’re done. Except for the series of gun fan-boy questions about your stuff. :^)

      **it’s kinda odd to have to disarm to visit the sheriff to renew your CPL.

    2. avatar tjlarson2k says:

      Not legal advice, but unless a venue has a metal detector and/or armed security, then concealed is concealed.

  13. avatar jwtaylor says:

    4 of them, plus the one on me. All the time. Some tucked away, but one long gun just behind the seat in the floorboard.

  14. avatar tsbhoa.p.jr says:

    no, i don’t.
    but when i met my ol’ pal slick, his dad used to have a gun store in his car. sold ’em right out of the trunk.

  15. avatar uncommon_sense says:

    In general I do not store any firearms in my car.

    When I go on trips, I often take firearms with me. If I am camping, I keep them out of sight in my locked car. If I am staying with family/friends or at a hotel, I bring them inside to my room where I sleep.

    Fun fact: when staying in a hotel during deer season in “deer country”, no one seems to care when they see me bringing two rifle cases to my room.

    I have been considering whether or not to keep a full size .357 or .44 Magnum revolver (with a six inch barrel), or a .40 S&W Kel-Tec SUB-2000 carbine, or a .357 Magnum lever-action carbine in my car “just in case”. However I am not ready to decide just yet.

  16. avatar kenneth says:

    Sure I keep a firearm in the vehicle, like most others do here in Montana. Sometimes it’s a rimfire and sometimes its bigger than that. I keep it in the rear window in something that used to be called a “gun rack”.
    I sure am glad I don’t live in the city and exist in a cubicle.

  17. avatar former water walker says:


  18. avatar Matt Matteson says:

    How can you leave a deadly weapon unattended in good conscience?

    I get that country living is a different game and invasive employers put good people in a bind, but short of having a professionally installed car safe, urban and suburban car carriers leave me speechless.

    I know several level-headed POTG who had guns stolen out of their vehicles over the last few years… their sense of violation was palpable for months and they still wonder if that serial number is going to tie a tragedy back to them. Every week, I drive past at least one location where people got robbed with car-carry pistols. One of those robberies was stopped because a good guy remembered his gloves before exiting the car.

    My truck gun is strapped to my ankle. Beats a glove-box or seat cushion crevice any day of the week.

    1. avatar uncommon_sense says:

      Matt Matteson,

      How can you leave a deadly weapon unattended in good conscience?

      If a criminal picks up an unattended brick from your yard and uses that brick to bash someone’s head, are you going to hate yourself for failing to secure that brick in a professionally installed safe?

      Pro tip: you and I are absolutely, positively NOT responsible when another person steals something from us and misuses that object in the commission of a crime. Whether that object is a brick, a scarf, or a firearm is irrelevant.

      1. avatar kevin says:

        I agree- that “How can you leave a deadly weapon unattended in good conscience?” argument doesn’t hold water when you compare it to other deadly weapons. I think nothing of keeping a large folding knife in my center console. Ditto a tire iron, baseball bat, or any other commonly used “weapons” that we leave lying around.

        I still lock up my guns, tho. I try to think about how the headline would read: “Unsecured Gun Stolen and Used in Murder. . .”

  19. avatar Andrew Lias says:

    It’s really funny, where do the cops store theirs at when they sleep at night? I’m willing to bet it’s in the car in many many cases. As mentioned, change the laws if you don’t want people leaving em in the car.

    ED:Would like to see the policy their department has in place on where guns need to be stored.

      1. avatar Andrew Lias says:

        That’s a pretty interesting read. The shotguns (in a presumably visible mount) must be removed from the vehicles at the end of a shift, however Patrol Rifles have no storage policy save for they need to be out of sight. By that they would 100% allow an AR-15 or similar to be stored in the trunk with a 30 round mag in it indefinitely. I’m guessing the shotguns are likely visible in a cruiser style mount.

        Or as some would be inclined to say “they can store deadly high caliber assault weapons with evil hollow point ammunition that exists for no reason other than killing in their cars.”

      2. avatar Some Random Dave says:

        Interesting–shotguns are the only weapon type that the APD explicitly forbids officers to store in department vehicles.
        –Patrol Rifles? A-OK.
        –Department-issued Glock-brand Glock 9mm and “40mm” handguns? Go for it!

        Where can I get my “40mm” Glock??

        1. avatar Mosinfan says:

          Damn, the 9mm Glocks feel awkward in my hand. What size mitts do you have to have to hold a 40mm Glock?

  20. avatar dwb says:

    Your car is not a good storage place for *anything* valuable, including your gun. But also your wallet, keys, garage door opener, money, or gift cards. Cars are unattended, easy to break into, and in-car safes are easily defeated (most of them, anyway). They can always just steal the car, which will give them a few hours to rummage through it.

    Around here the kids call it “car lottery” … don’t make them a winner by leaving your treasure in it.

    1. avatar LarryinTX says:

      Easy to break into? So you haven’t ever seen one of the myriad videos of police or other rescuers attempting to gain access to a locked car, for whatever reason? You haven’t noticed the ads for you to spend hard earned bucks for special tools to assist in ingress/egress from a locked vehicle, with specialized glass breakers and seat belt cutters, and so forth? A locked car is definitely NOT easy to break into, much less quietly. If you are headed somewhere where yoots can rely on an hour or two, uninterrupted, to examine a car’s contents, you may want to check how many cars were looted there last year, before you make your decision. But, the police are responsible for seeing to it that my car is not destroyed and the contents stolen, while it is parked on their streets, next to their donut shops, and if they cannot do the job, let’s fire them and change some laws.

      1. avatar Jean says:

        How easy is it to break into a car? For a barely competent car thief, about 5 minutes. A good one can do it in under 30 seconds. Yes, I’ve seen it done first hand.

  21. avatar Button Gwinnett says:

    I did November 9th through about the 15th, a Hi Point 995. I park right outside my office window, though. And after dark I carried it inside with me, and returned it to the trunk before dawn the next day. My neighbors don’t need to know anything.

  22. avatar tdiinva (now in wisconsin) says:

    I do when I have to. I always put it the safe at point of origin and not destination.

  23. avatar Curtis in IL says:

    Illinois prohibited areas being what they are, my sidearm spends more time in the center console of my pickup than on my hip.

    This is generally not a problem unless I need to park in some remote area for a long period. Such as the cruise ship terminal in Port Canaveral (no guns allowed on the boat).

    1. avatar NEIOWA says:

      So the POPO are your security?

      The purpose of an insurance policy is to compensate for stupidity? Obumercare?

      1. avatar LarryinTX says:

        Close! The purpose of an insurance policy is to compensate me for the incompetence of public servants, who should be fired every time a car is tossed within their area of responsibility. When that starts, you’ll see a difference.

  24. avatar Curtis in IL says:

    I remember several years ago when I parked in a hotel parking lot in suburban Chicago. A roving police officer left a note on my windshield, lecturing me about the GPS unit that I left in plain view, inviting theft (from my locked vehicle).

    I wish I had a chance to chat with that cop. It’s not my job to hide attractive assets from thieves. I have insurance for that sort of thing. It’s his job, not mine, to provide whatever deterrence is required to squelch the criminal element.

    1. avatar NEIOWA says:

      So the POPO are your security?

      The purpose of an insurance policy is to compensate for stupidity? Obumercare?

  25. avatar EJQ says:

    Hmm, should I tell the truth? Or should I lie?

    My husband won’t lose his job due to the fact he keeps a revolver in his desk. It’s there, and a few responsible co-workers know it’s there. Seems the panhandlers are now going door to door inside offices. Security isn’t that close. The boss approves.

    My glove box locks. Most “smash and grabs” won’t involve a locked glove box, per my police dept., in this area. If I’m truly worried, there’s a locked pass-thru to the trunk. I keep a gun that I won’t cry over, if stolen. However, I’d be upset if a criminal stole any gun. My windows are tinted just enough so that nothing can be seen easily, and about all I do keep in sight is a jacket, sweater, or sweatshirt, in case of a weather change.

    The car is always locked, automatically when I am in it, locked when I park it, including inside the garage.

  26. Hey APD!
    Suck my dick!
    I wouldn’t leave my gun in the car if I could have brought it in to the Fox Theater for the performance of The Phantom of the Opera Saturday night.
    God damn tyrants! Fuck all you cock suckers!

    1. avatar Rusty Chains says:

      Oops, you mean I was suppose to disarm before the last time I went there? Not an area of town I visit or park in often, though I may get down there for the upcoming NRA convention!

      1. The Fox Theater now uses metal detectors.
        The attempt to disarm the populace is going universal.
        There are rumors at my work that random vehicle searches are coming soon.
        Not one word from our Lord and savior during the joint congressional address on the blatant infringement of our second amendment rights.

    2. avatar Anon in CT says:

      I’ve just been handed a note . . .

  27. avatar Paul says:

    I avoid leaving my gun in my car, because thirty years ago my car was stolen with a Marlin Papoose and a brick of ammo under the seat. Law enforcement was not enthused by that detail in the police report. I did get my car and gun back a few days later, and thankfully, nobody got hurt. I don’t even think the perps knew the gun was there.

    The only exception to this rule is when I am visiting a gun restricted zone where there is a more severe penalty for carrying than simple trespass. Out of necessity, I leave my gun in the jockey box. But that’s generally in broad daylight in a well monitored lot, so I’m not too worried about theft.

    If the penalty for carrying is only simple trespass, like at Whole Foods or the movies, I just carry concealed. The worst they can do is ask me to leave. But they will never see the weapon anyway unless I have to use it lawfully to defend myself or others.

  28. Because I live in the People’s Republic of New Jersey, which simply does NOT give out CCW permits to civilians, storing a gun in my car is not a legal option (unless the car is parked in my own driveway). The PRNJ government, in its infinite wisdom (cough, cough), decided that we are only allowed to transport handguns to and from the gun club, making no stops along the way and no deviations from the route, even though all guns must be stored UNLOADED and LOCKED in the trunk at all times (the law is fuzzy about what to do if you’re among the 60% of drivers who drive a vehicle that has no trunk, such as an SUV, van, or wagon). So, if you have a handgun that is legally REGISTERED, UNLOADED, and LOCKED in the trunk, but on the way home from the gun club you decide to stop for a burger, you can get 10 years in prison. Ditto if you have even a single round of hollowpoint ammunition, even if it’s locked in the trunk, because you can only transport hollowpoints to and from the gun club, can’t keep any in your car (God help you if one falls out of your range bag or ammo can), can’t use them for home defense, only for punching paper, and since hollowpoints are an expensive way to punch holes in paper, that means hollowpoints are pretty much “jailbait” for New Jersey denizens.

    Technically, we can still keep a long gun in our trunk in NJ, as long as it’s locked in the trunk, unloaded, stored separate from any ammo, we’re carrying our “NJ Firearms Purchaser ID Card”, and we have no hollowpoint ammo for it in the car, but I expect the NJ legislature to close that “loophole” any day now!

    1. avatar LarryinTX says:

      Wow. Just wow.

      1. avatar Michael Ejercito says:

        I wonder if these laws have a racially disparate impact.

  29. avatar Ralph says:

    Nah. But you might find an old french fry or two.

  30. avatar jimmy james says:

    “Store” seems to be the operative word here. My vehicle or any vehicle for that matter is not the ideal place to “store” a firearm but there is always at least one in my center console drink holder, covered by a ball cap, because I refuse to be a victim and I was a boy scout once.

  31. avatar pcb_duffer says:

    From the linked APD Policy Manual “any Smith and Wesson 9mm revolver”. This seems oddly specific, why not Colt or Ruger 9mm revolvers, for example? And reading the section on Patrol Rifles, I wonder what % of APD’s officers are authorized to carry same, and do they leave them in the patrol car’s trunk when not on duty? (For that matter, do APD officers take their cars home at end of shift?)

    1. avatar LarryinTX says:

      You gotta wonder about laws like that. Pardon me, but on what basis would you claim that a .38 Spl, .357 Mag, and so forth, are not “9mm revolvers”?

  32. avatar joe sixpack says:

    I use a pair of handcuffs. I put one cuff around the leg of the bench rear seat, and the other cuff through the trigger guard. I tuck the gun under the seat and cover with an empty McDonalds bag and french fry holder.

    1. avatar LarryinTX says:

      I suspect there are states where possession of handcuffs is illegal. Just sayin’.

      1. I have an unregistered NFA gun handcuffed to a prostitute handcuffed to a suitcase full of cocain handcuffed to the back seat of my truck.
        Oh…forgot the worst part.
        There’s a Trump-Pence bumper sticker on the truck.

  33. avatar Timmy! says:

    There may or may not be a Taurus 85 and two speed loaders in an old CD case in the door pocket of my car 24/7… but since the ferry overturned and sent it all to the bottom of the sea, we’ll never know.

    1. avatar LarryinTX says:

      *DAMN* fairies!

  34. avatar Anonymous says:

    In my state, our vehicles are treated similarly as our home. So, yes, firearms get stored in cars sometimes. Do criminals sometimes steal them? Yes. Is stealing against the law? Yes. Do I support laws that try to make things more illegal or attempts to prevent a crime or deter when the original crime is already illegal? No. Do a care much what the Atlanta PD has to say about it? Nope.

  35. avatar strych9 says:

    I have a safe in my car that I use should I for some reason be forced to enter an actual GFZ such as a courthouse.

    Other than that, hell no. Criminals give no fucks. The FBI agent around the corner from me lost two service weapons to a auto-burglary last year.

  36. avatar Tom says:

    Your car doesn’t need a gun, you do.

    1. The idea of a “truck gun” is to have similar fire power accessible to what you have at home. This means that it is a gun not designed to conceal but to provide the best means to defend your family. The argument could be made that the need for armed self defense is greater when you are away from home. Having a dedicated car gun(s) assures you don’t forget to bring it.
      A $500-$1500 gun left in the car that is worth $30,000 doesn’t seem like much added risk.
      Homes are just as easy to break into as vehicles and more vehicles have alarms than houses.

      1. avatar Tom says:

        Fair enough. Although a $500-$1500 gun in my ancient $3,000 Jeep is a slightly higher risk scenario. Especially considering car insurance doesn’t cover items in the car, that’s where homeowners/renters insurance steps in with its own deductible. I’m not made of money.

        At any rate I can’t really keep a car gun effectively since I am in the military and work in a “gun free zone”.

  37. avatar Chris T from KY says:

    I keep a Henry A-7 during the day when I’m driving around. I never leave it in the car over night in the drive way. The A-7 is so small no one knows what it is.

  38. avatar Chris Morton says:

    So then Bloomberg’s going to push Federal legislation removing the force of law from “No Guns” signs and business policies?

  39. avatar Lhstr says:

    So how do you do it? My ccw is a great gun, either my Glock or my 5.7. If I carry a gun to save my life its a good gun. Now I could hide one in my vehicle, a saturday night special, but then I wouldn’t carry it? What the hell do you do? I don’t go to places that I can’t carry. If I do have to, I try to go at a safe time of the day. Meanwhile my ass is without a weapon and sometimes that happens, but not often. No good answer here!

    1. The point of a gun in your vehicle isn’t to replace your CW or have a second CW. The point is to have something more substantial when you find yourself miles away from your gun safe and Bubba and friends think you have a pretty mouth.

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